Except in special cases, PCR confirmation of a COVID-positive rapid test is no longer required, Ministry of Health announces

Antigua and Barbuda has changed its COVID-19 testing protocol, effective Monday, June 27.

Based on the country’s current COVID-19 situation, the Ministry of Health has decided that RT-PCR tests will no longer be required to confirm the disease when persons test positive via an approved rapid antigen test.  

However, the Ministry says, “there still remain… situations in which RT-PCR should be used.”

These situations include instances where there is a negative rapid-test result in a person with a high suspicion of the COVID-19 disease or those who are close contacts of confirmed cases.

Further, inconclusive rapid antigen tests; persons who must be hospitalized due to respiratory symptoms; and all persons who must be admitted to hospital will have to take the PCR test.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is reminding all healthcare providers that COVID-19 has been declared a dangerous infectious disease. Therefore, it is legally required that all cases be reported to the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

Failure to report can result in fines in accordance with the Public Health Act (6).